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New technique to treat fish farm wastewater

New technique to treat fish farm wastewater

Friday, March 17, 2017

 

A University of Illinois researcher has found bioreactors can be used for treating wastewater from a fully operational re-circulating aquaculture system in West Virginia.

 

“The bioreactors that we usually promote in Illinois are for taking nitrogen out of tile drainage,” Bioreactor expert Laura Christianson, who is in charge of the study, explains. “Wastewater from a fish farm is a lot gunkier. It looks brown and can be smelly. We wanted to see if we could get a bioreactor to take the nitrogen out of that kind of water without the bioreactor clogging up with solids.”

The researcher also comments that aquaculture wastewater can be difficult to dispose of because of the solids, and often is a regulatory barrier to more fish farming development.  Christianson considers this is helpful as aquaculture is one of the fastest growing domestic agricultural sectors and the US relies on global imports for about 80 per cent of its seafood.

 

Here’s how it works: Water from the fish tank where fish are grown enters the bioreactor at one end, flows through the wood chips, and exits through a pipe at the other end. Along the way, solids settle out and bacteria housed in the wood chips remove nitrogen, a regulated pollutant.

This is the same way the bioreactors work at removing excess nitrogen from tile-drained farm fields across the Midwest, Christianson pointed out.

There is a trick to coping with higher amount of water and solids, through. Christianson’s study noted that retention time for the water to travel the bioreactor length varied from 12 to 55 hours.

A quicker time is essential when moving large volumes, but it also needs to be slow enough for the bacteria to work effectively. Also, with more solids there’s more of a chance of settling and clogging.

The study worked on identifying the optimum times for most effective cleanup, with 24 hours working the best.
Article at FIS.com

 

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